Australia’s Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill passed through both houses of parliament today.
Its successful passage was expected. The amendments contained within will come into effect in September, and may convince a few more offshore operators to join the likes of 32Red and Vera&John in pulling out of the Australian market.
On the online poker front, long considered a legal grey area but now an unambiguous no-no attracting fines of up to $6.75 million for offending companies, 888Poker has already told its Australian users that their accounts would be closed (and no more sponsorship deals for Shane Warne). PokerStars and Poker Party are expected to follow suit now the law has passed.
This will leave an estimated 130,000 Australian online poker players will be looking for new poker rooms.
One final amendment was added to the bill today before it passed, making it illegal for online gambling operators to offer credit lines to customers. Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said of the final addition,
“Importantly (it) bans the online gambling companies from offering lines of credit to their customers which gets people into so much trouble, having already depleted their savings account.”